National Basketball Players Association Executive Dir. Billy Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern
*(Via Yahoo News/AP) – After nearly two years of bickering, NBA players and owners are back on the same side.
“We want to play basketball,” Commissioner David Stern said.
Come Christmas Day, they should be.
The sides reached a tentative agreement early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout and hope to begin the delayed season with a marquee triple-header Dec. 25. Most of a season that seemed in jeopardy of being lost entirely will be salvaged if both sides approve the handshake deal.
Barring a change in scheduling, the 2011-12 season will open with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, followed by Miami at Dallas in an NBA finals rematch before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago visiting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Neither side provided many specifics about the deal, and there are still legal hurdles that must be cleared before gymnasiums are open again.
“We thought it was in both of our interest to try to reach a resolution and save the game,” union executive director Billy Hunter said.
(L-R) Maurice Evans, Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, and Peter Holt speak to members of the press to announce a tentative labor agreement on Saturday.
NBA players union president Derek Fisher & NBPA executive director Billy Hunter
*”We’ve arrived at the conclusion that the collective bargaining process has broken down,” National Basketball Players Association/NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said. “The players feel they’re not prepared to accept any ultimatums.”
The above statement says it all. The NBPA which represents professional b-ball players has said it’s had enough of trying to bargain with the 30 NBA team owners.
As you would expect, NBA Commissioner David Stern was not thrilled with Hunter’s comment and said in a statement:
“There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy.” He added in an ESPN interview, “If I were a player, I would be wondering what Billy Hunter just did.”
*NBA Commissioner David Stern, after a four-plus-hour labor meeting with the players’ union Tuesday closed with no deal, cancelled the last two weeks of the preseason and said he could scrap the first two weeks of the regular season if a deal doesn’t get done by Monday.
“We’re disappointed,” Stern said.
Stern said the league will suffer a $200-million loss without exhibition games, and his deputy Adam Silver said “the damage is enormous,” as Stern said, “We’re looking down the barrel of an extraordinary hit to the owners and players” by missing the first two weeks of the season.
Stern said Tuesday’s meeting stalled after NBA players failed to express interest a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. The players, calling the offer “unacceptable,” according to Silver, earned 57% of BRI in the 2010-11 season.
*The NFL and players have reached an agreement to end the lockout.
The sides worked through the weekend, finally finishing the deal Monday morning, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.
If players sign off on the agreement Monday, NFL clubs would be able to start signing 2011 draft picks and rookie free agents on Tuesday. Conversations with veteran free agents also could start Tuesday, and signings could begin Friday.
Under that tentative schedule, training camps would open for 10 of the 32 teams on Wednesday, 10 teams on Thursday, another 10 teams on Friday, and the last two teams on Sunday.